Quick GF Christmas Cake

Quick gluten-free Christmas cakeIn spite of having all manner of brownies, cookies and bars available for Christmas, I knew that my husband wouldn’t be happy without some form of fruitcake. ‘Christmas cake’ to my ten-year old means a multi-layer cake (he believes vanilla, lemon and gingerbread are good choices) exuberantly decorated with coloured frosting and sprinkles. For our purposes, the quick gluten-free Christmas cake here is the more traditional fruitcake with – in this case – a gingerbread cake type ‘base’ and the addition of a variety of dried fruit pre-soaked in brandy and orange zest. I only decided to get started on this yesterday afternoon, so I had to find an inspiration recipe that would be fast. No month-long bathing in brandy here…

dried fruit soaking in brandyI took my inspiration from this Gluten Free Ginger Christmas Fruit Cake recipe from Apple & Spice and got started last evening by tossing the following into a bowl with the aforementioned brandy, orange zest and some hot water: golden raisins, dark raisins, dates, dried cherries, lemon peel, and candied ginger.

This afternoon, when I had to decide what cake-base to use, I returned to my own gingerbread cake recipe that I’ve tested in both our Ironheart woodstove and our conventional oven. Today I was baking in the woodstove, but this recipe would work fine in either. The resulting cake is a hybrid between my gingerbread cake and the ginger Christmas cake from Apple & Spice, definitely more cake-y than a traditional fruitcake, but still full of plump fruit.

Quick GF Christmas cake

Quick Gluten-Free Christmas Cake
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I used golden and dark raisins, dried cherries, dates, lemon peel, candied ginger, but you could also use currants, dried apricots, etc.)
75 ml brandy
Juice from one orange
Zest from one orange
25 ml lemon juice
Splash hot water (use your own judgement; the idea is to provide enough liquid for the fruit to swell nicely)

2 1/4 cups GF-flour blend OR
1 cup sorghum flour (brown rice flour would also work)
1 cup almond flour/meal
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried cloves or allspice
1/2 tsp salt
7/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tbs molasses
1/4 cup water (or milk)

Preliminaries – preheat conventional oven to 350 F or get woodstove to equivalent temperature (on our Ironheart, that’s near the bottom of the ‘Very Hot’ range)
Step 1 – assemble and soak the dried fruit in a bowl with the brandy, zest, juice and water; allow to soak for a minimum of an hour, but the longer the better (I managed about 12 hours)
Step 2 – mix dry ingredients in a large bowl
Step 3 – melt butter, mix with molasses and water or milk
Step 4 – combine wet and dry mixtures and add in fruit and almonds for a final stir
Step 5 – pour into greased cake tin (I prefer a bundt pan)
Step 6 – bake for approx. 1 hour (again, this was done in our woodstove, so in a conventional oven I’d definitely check it after about 40 minutes)

This is definitely a recipe that can be tinkered with, with a reduction in flour to make it less cake-like or the addition of more fruit and spices to intensify the flavours. My husband has given this his approval and he’s a life-long fruitcake fan.

To serve, some custard or lemon sauce would be a great addition. Enjoy!

7 thoughts on “Quick GF Christmas Cake

  1. Looks amazing df. Very impressed it’s gluten-free. I’m attempting GF pastry today for our second Christmas lunch – wish me luck!
    Hope you and your family have a wonderful, delicious day today. xx
    PS. Petkid’s vanilla/lemon/gingerbread/sprinkles combo sounds awesome.

    1. Thank you Sas! GF pastry is a fun one; I was doing the same on Christmas day for a pumpkin pie, and it was pretty good, but there are so many methods out there! How did yours go? Would love to compare. We did indeed have a lot of fun stuffing ourselves, and it was my day to enjoy hours on end of baking and then cooking; loved it! Hope you all had a wonderful time!

      1. I’m ashamed to admit I took the lazy route and opted for store-bought. It was AWFUL, not dissimilar to oven-baked cardboard. Tooth-crackingly brittle, and a mile-long list of horrible ingredients. Would LOVE a home-made recipe. How did yours go?

      2. Oh Sas, we’ve all done that, so you don’t need to be ashamed! Sometimes needs must. The one that I went for turned out reasonably nicely, though it’s definitely an area I need to experiment with more. It certainly had a nice flavour and the consistency wasn’t too far off what pastry should be. I used the wholegrain version of the recipe found here:
        http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/11/gluten-free-pastry-crust.html Definitely one I’ll try again with some tweaking. Happy new year!

  2. This sounds wonderful! Can’t believe I missed it at Christmas time but as cold as it has been (for us) in Tennessee, I’m thinking it would be a very appropriate treat now! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thanks for reviving this one. It really is a winter treat, isn’t it, I don’t think you need a special holiday to justify having this kind of cake! cheers!

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